Poultry farmers in Co Cavan and Monaghan are this morning (Wednesday, January 26th) continuing to protest to highlight concerns over rising input, energy, and labour costs.
According to the IFA, which is leading the protest, it targets this action at Lidl over cut-price promotions on large chickens.
IFA poultry chairman, Andy Boylan, said Ireland must outlaw this kind of “kamikaze behaviour by retailers”.
“Selling a 1.9kg chicken for €3.49 is grossly irresponsible. It has the potential to lead to a price war that producers will ultimately pay for,” he said.
“Some retailers have recognised the very severe income difficulties at the moment. They have increased the price of chicken on the shelf.”
“Yet Lidl has pulled the price, which shows the complete disregard they have for producers,” he added.
Boylan believes what he described as the “government’s inaction on retail legislation has created this situation.
He warned that this “race to the bottom” will have “significant” consequences for producers.
He believes that until Ireland introduces “robust” regulation of retailers, the country will see more and more farmers “going to the wall”.
He stressed that the cost of gas, energy, labour, and animal feed have all seen inflation not witnessed by the sector in half a generation.
He said Irish inflation “shot” to a 14-year high in October, which has had a “damaging” effect on the sector.
Vice-chairman of the poultry committee, Brendan Soden, outlined farmers are “very concerned” about their future.
He pointed out that the EU average price for eggs has increased by 13.2% in the past year.
“However, Ireland is one of only two member states where the price has actually decreased in the past 12 months with a drop of 8.4% in Irish egg prices.”
“On the input side, feed costs have increased by 36% on last year, which is completely unsustainable.”
In summary, Boylan said growers are “suffering and losing money”.
He warned that the entire sector is in jeopardy without an immediate increase in the wholesale retail price to be passed back to egg and chicken producers.
“We produce top quality, Bord Bia QA produce, at prices which are not sustainable.”
“We intend to highlight the absolute necessity for our costs to be recovered from the food chain immediately,” he concluded.
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